Cassidy, Kay. The Cinderella Society.
Picked up this title at an author signing earlier this summer and saved it for a treat. I was not disappointed. Jess is new to her school, and having some trouble fitting in. However, she is asked to join the Cinderella Society, a group of popular girls who use their powers for good, rather than evil, unlike the Wickeds, who are popular and torture "reggies", the regular students. It is soon discovered that the society is a worldwide group composed of very powerful women, including Jess's grandmother. While a little heavy on the makeover and clothing description, the girl power message is a good one, and the back of the book lists resources for girl empowerment. There is a sequel planned, and I hope to see Jess become even stronger. (She was just a little too dependent on her boyfriend, and the attention to appearance, as important as it is to middle school girls, could have been downplayed a bit. I live by the credo "Useful, not decorative." But then, I'm old.)
Kay Cassidy has a great website, and once the dust settles (literally!) in my library, I want to check out her Great Scavenger Hunt Contest. It looks intriguing.
Tahmaseb, Charity and Vance, Darcy. The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading.
Bethany is an even more intriguing strong girl than Jess. She is a self-proclaimed "geek" who is encouraged to try out for cheerleading with her friend Moni-- and both girl's make the squad. This angers former cheerleaders who were kicked off the squad after an alcohol-related accident, so all does not go smoothly. To complicate matters, Bethany's crush, the "girlproof" Jack, starts to pay attention to her. This was a wonderfully realistic depiction of high school life. The different social groups ring true, the geeks are empowered, and Bethany strikes a good balance between her cheerleading and her geekdom. The romance is very sweet. My teen daughter picked this one up and is loving it. Caution: Suitable for middle school (there is drinking, but Bethany doesn't partake), but there is in the back the first chapter of a book entitled Giving Up the V that is not.
Samar and her mother have always downplayed their ethnicity-- Sam's mother felt stifled by the customs of her Sikh parents and rebelled, so Sam has never thought much of her East Asian roots. After 9/11, her estranged uncle shows up-- wearing a turban. For the first time, Sam begins to be curious about her grandparents and the traditions of a culture she has never investigated. This is difficult for her best friend and boyfriend, who have never thought of her as anything but American, and for her mother, who is still not comfortable with religion or Sam's grandparents. I really enjoyed this book, but it is more of a high school title, between the drinking and sexual content. It also is more introspective than middle schoolers, in general, tend to be. I would love to see a middle school title from this author.